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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Augmented Reality Brings Barry Art Museum Collection To Life

In conjunction with International Museum Day, Old Dominion University's Barry Art Museum launched interactive 3D models of selected works in its collection as a tool to advocate for the creative potential of culture as a driver for innovation and recovery from the pandemic.

The theme of this year's International Museum Day was "The Future of Museums: Recover and Reimagine."

"We're now thinking about our visitors beyond students and our typical Norfolk and Hampton Roads arts supporter, to a global audience, and it's very exciting," said Charlotte Potter Kasic, the Barry Art Museum's interim director. "The 3D models were a natural fit for our continued strategy of engaging the public through digital programming. This augmented-reality project allows anyone - from anywhere - to explore the collection with the click of a button. These investments, reimagining how we view art, will pay dividends long after the pandemic is over."

The augmented-reality (AR) sculptures will come to life locally on the Elizabeth River Trail, Norfolk Botanical Garden and Old Dominion University campus. Users of Apple or Android phones can scan a QR code to "play" with 3D recreations of glass sculptures in the Museum's permanent collection. The interactive models appear in the camera app for easy filming, photography and sharing. A preview can be found here. This campaign will run through the summer.

In support of creating these replicas, the project's 3D designer processed a sequence of images of each piece and translated the images into high-quality models - a process called photogrammetry.

"It's inspiring to explore other scalable applications and uses for augmented reality, especially in more creative fields like the arts and rethinking the future of museums," said Jacob Galito, creative director and co-founder of Ario Technologies, Inc., an AR software company.

The Barry Art Museum team, under the direction of Kasic, used the past year to rethink relationships with the communities it serves, experimenting with new platforms and hybrid models of exploring and educating through art.

Since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, the Barry Art Museum has launched four multimedia tours of its collections. From "Black Artists and Subjects" to "Early Art Appreciation," these Zoom tours are hosted live by an artist educator from the Museum and include video, images, stories and in-depth information about the works in the collection and the people behind the piece.

Additionally, the Museum launched a new website to feature its many virtual programs and resources, which include a monthly online lecture series that has engaged hundreds of artists and participants from around the world over the past year. Learn more at barryartmuseum.odu.edu

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